While some children cannot wait for the first day of school others are a bit more hesitant about starting a new scholastic adventure. If your little one seems anxious or afraid follow these tips to help ease those back to school jitters.
Read Books That Focus on Separation Anxiety
Llama Llama Misses Mama, The Kissing Hand and The Otter Who Loved to Hold Hands all focus on the topic of separation anxiety. Find books that center attention on the anxious and worried feelings that may arise on the first day of school. Discuss the emotions of the main characters in those books and others that focus specifically on school scenarios like Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten and Yoko & Friends: School Days #1: Mama, Don’t Go! Highlight the positive aspects of school, but let your child know that in addition to feeling excited they may also feel a little sad or nervous. Search for these titles and many others at Book Outlet, where you can find select titles at read-iculously low prices.
Prepare a Family Portrait
Some children feel better when they can hold on to a tangible reminder of home. Before the school year begins schedule a family portrait at JCPenney Portraits. Purchase a wallet-sized picture and tuck it into your child’s pocket before they leave for school. Let them know that they can pull the photograph out whenever they begin to feel overwhelmed at school. If your child doesn’t have clothing with pockets place it in an easily accessible compartment in their backpack or ask them to leave it in a cubby or locker.
Prepare a Special Note
While packing your child’s lunch box don’t forget to include a special note written by you. Draw a colorful picture, insert a page full of their favorite stickers or simply write a short note that includes the words “I Love You.” This will help your child feel connected and loved despite the long separation.
Create a Goodbye Ritual
A few weeks before school begins create a goodbye ritual and repeat it every time you part ways. This shouldn’t be too elaborate, perhaps a kiss on each cheek, three quick hugs or a simple squeeze of your child’s hand. Practice this every time you head out to the grocery store, leave for work or even step out of the room. When the first day arrives tell your child that once the ritual is complete you’ll need to leave.
Discuss Your Return
Give your child something to look forward to by focusing on the end of the day and the hugs you’ll share after school. Add a little extra time to your schedule on the evening of that first day and plan an extra special activity or adventure for your child. If you are short on time due to busy work schedules plan to make their favorite meal, a favorite dessert or something else they love.
Highlight the Positive Aspects of the Day
After pickup ask your child about his or her day. Focus on the positive aspects no matter how small they may seem. Ask if they enjoyed their snack, their lunch, the book the teacher read or anything else that you can think of. Then ask them what they’ll look forward to tomorrow.